- We take a scheduled flight to San Diego, California, and on arrival make our own way to our overnight hotel. Dinner this evening is at leisure, with plenty of options to choose from.
- Accommodation: Hotel in San Diego, 1-night on room only basis.
- Most of today is at leisure, before boarding our vessel this evening; we set sail at around 10pm. Our home for the next seven nights is the Searcher, a comfortable vessel with 14 cabins, each with bunk beds, air condtioning and a washbasin. There is a library, indoor lounge and a spacious deck.
- Accommodation: M/V Searcher, 7-nights on full board basis.
- Following a stop at Ensenada harbour for Mexican Customs and Immigration clearance, we cruise along Islas Todos Santos with the opportunity to view nesting seabirds, rocky reef and cliff life, and harbour seal adults and pups. We may spot our first grey whales already making their way from the warm waters of the lagoons around Baja’s coastline where they mate and calve, northward to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Also keep an eye out for fin whales, dolphins and seabirds.
- Today we stop at Isla San Benito and spend a day ashore. We hike to an old lighthouse and observe northern elephant seals crowded in each cove; as we coincide with the breeding season, jousting males, nursing pups and resting females make for wonderful photography opportunities. We should also see nesting birds, such as osprey and ravens, and spot unique desert plants. Rare Guadalupe fur seals can also been seen here.
- In the evening we continue to navigate south to San Ignacio Lagoon, with outstanding birdwatching opportunities including the charismatic black-footed albatross.
- We continue to San Ignacio Lagoon, our home for two days and one of the voyage highlights, with extraordinarily close encounters with the world’s friendliest whales.
- Grey whales mate and calve in San Ignacio Lagoon from January through until the end of April. From mid March onwards, males begin to head north along the coast towards their distant feeding grounds in the northern reaches of the Pacific Ocean and in the Arctic Sea. At this time, perhaps because the mothers are no longer having to contend with ‘amorous suitors’, there is increased contact behaviour with the boats, and even greater opportunities for interaction with the whales.
- Our boat is one of the few to hold a permit to anchor in the vast, almost land-locked lagoon. Hundreds of grey whales congregate here, and we take trips aboard pangas piloted by local fishermen and wait for them to approach. With any luck, some of these gentle creatures - along with their young at this time of year - will come so close that they rub against the hulls of the pangas and seemingly court our attention - a moving and truly memorable experience. At night the clear desert skies fill with stars, we can hear coyotes howl and, as we sail, we may see blue and humpback whales plus Pacific white-sided dolphins feeding in the nutrient-rich waters.
- Today we cruise the nutrient rich waters off Bahía Magdalena, a major feeding ground for blue whale and home to a staggering number of migratory and marine birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals – including grey whales, Bryde’s, fin and humpback whales, pods of long-beaked common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, turtles, sharks and more.
- This area comprises the largest wetland ecosystem on the west coast of Baja California and is considered one of the most important in North America. The bay provides a vital calving area for the Eastern Pacific grey whale, and a feeding ground for several species of endangered marine turtles.
- This morning we cruise to Gorda Banks where humpback whales gather to sing and mate; if lucky, we may have spectacular encounters, and may also see the majestic northbound migrating blue whales. During the afternoon we stop at Los Frailes beach where we have the opportunity to snorkel and enjoy some birdwatching.
- We are scheduled to arrive in Cabo San Lucas in the early morning. After disembarking and clearing Mexican customs, it is time to transfer to Los Cabos international airport for an overnight flight back to the UK.
- This morning, meet at the Juniper Hall Field Centre at Box Hill near Dorking for a welcome and introduction by your hosts Alex and Bret.
- A full day of workshop activities follows, including talks, theory and demonstrations, with practical tuition using the captive subjects. During the workshop, Alex and Bret will explain the basics and fundamentals and improve your ability to observe and ‘see a photo’. Concepts and techniques will be demonstrated, then, working in small groups or individually, with the experts' guidance, you will be able to put what you have learned into practice.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- Transfer from Cabo San Lucas to Los Cabos airport
- Meals on board Searcher vessel
- Services of a leader & onboard naturalist
We spend one night in a hotel in San Diego, and the rest of our time on board the Searcher, a 28-metre long motor vessel. Our captain, Art Taylor, has been operating in Baja for over 30 years, with a strong focus on responsible whale watching.
The Searcher has 14 cabins, each with bunk beds, air conditioning and a washbasin. There is a library, indoor lounge and a spacious deck.
Accommodation in San Diego is on a room-only basis; all meals are included on board the Searcher.
Our tour takes us to a marine wilderness, the rugged desert peninsula of Baja California. The incredible diversity of marine life that exists here includes whales, dolphins, turtles, seals, birds and over 900 species of fish. It is the place to see grey whales at close quarters in their breeding lagoons, and we also hope to see playful humpback whales breaching, along with blue whales, the largest mammals of all.
- Blue whale
- Grey whale
- Guadalupe fur seal
- Pacific white-sided dolphin
There is a huge variety of seabirds to see on this trip – shearwaters, terns, and a host of gulls often fly alongside the boat, and we can also see osprey, waders, herons and egrets. When on land we will look for red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture and maybe see the endemic Xantus’ hummingbird, as well as smaller desert specialists including rock wren.
- Royal tern
- Black-footed albatross.
- Brandt’s cormorant
- Short-tailed shearwater
Our voyage around the tip of Baja California takes us to a rugged desert peninsula 1,250 kilometres in length. Each day we will typically visit a remote landing spot or one of the beautiful, remote islands.
There are some easy walks on the islands that we visit during the voyage.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – San Diego / Los Cabos – London.